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New mayor, vice mayor for Nevada City

The Nevada City Council appointed its new mayor, Duane Strawser, Wednesday, who is set to serve a one-year term.

Strawser was first elected to city council in 2010, and was re-elected for a second term in 2014. He previously served as mayor in 2012 and was vice mayor last year.

Nevada City’s council members are unpaid, and Strawser said the time-consuming role often takes away from his family time. But he feels it’s his civic duty to work for the betterment of the community.



“Really, I think it’s that old adage, ‘If not you, then who?’” Strawser said. “Somebody has to do it. Somebody has to step up.”

Strawser said he works hard to put his own beliefs aside and think about what he can do for the good of the city.




“It’s not about what you believe; it’s about what’s best for the community,” he said.

After serving 13 years as a board member for the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce and three years as board president, Strawser says he has honed a deep understanding of the city’s inner workings.

“It can definitely be challenging,” he said. “You’re representing a very diverse group of community members, and some have completely opposing beliefs. I guess it’s like that everywhere, but in Nevada City it seems a little more extreme. You have to learn to be very patient and represent everybody fairly, even when your own beliefs are conflicting.”

Looking ahead, Strawser said he plans to work on tackling some large issues affecting the community. Notable issues include the impacts the state’s legalization of recreational marijuana will have on Nevada City, homelessness, continuing the advancement of the local arts scene and the need for more affordable housing.

City council members also elected a new vice mayor, David Parker, Wednesday. The council rotates mayors on a yearly basis, and the vice mayor is typically expected to be promoted to mayor after one year.

City Manager Mark Prestwich will finish out the week in his current position. He announced his resignation late last month and will transition to his new role as City Manager of Napa County’s St. Helena on July 31.

“I definitely believe that Mark is leading us in a better place, and I’ll miss him,” said Councilmember Evans Phelps, who finished her term as mayor when Strawser was appointed Wednesday. “Mark and I came into city hall the same week, and we seem to be both leaving our positions the same week.”

The current city council has been busy and productive, Phelps said.

“We have unanimously voted on a whole number of things, and I’m really proud,” she said. “Even though we’re all different, for the better of the city, I think we’ve done really well.”

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Pera, email mpera@theunion.com or call 530-477-4231.


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